John Muir Trail Day 13: Mile 100 and Marie Lake

Saturday, 9/4 10:10 AM  DAY 13 📍Bear Creek 1.11 miles

Journal entry: This would be mile 1.11. Trying to slow down a bit, so I decided to stop at the creek. More like river, this thing is flowing strong! Low enough where I can walk across the creek with water to my ankles. Water is cold, but feet feel pretty amazing right now. Started the morning at 9:30 AM and as you can see, I didn’t go very far before breaking. I have 5.8 miles now to Marie Lakes, where I plan to camp tonight, so these breaks are important today. It’s not even a big climb to the lake, but will probably already hit mile 100 tomorrow! Crazy! Well I shouldn’t get too comfy here. It’s Judah’s birthday today, so I’ll make a splash for him. 😊I’ve yet run into another solo female backpacker since being on the trail with my sis. Don’t people say that it’s rare to see a hummingbird still? There was this hummingbird right in the tree by camp yesterday. I kid you not, it was a Cinderella moment for me. Like did this hummingbird really just stop in front of me?! Best part- I got it on camera! Birds a bit small, bit I know what it is! Trails really quiet today. I’m really soaking in this solitude of the trail from national forest closures. Literally have been sitting here, feet in the creek, only seen 1 couple. Nobo. Pretty sure I’m the only one that took Bear Ridge trail out of VVR, Bear Creek trail seems like a blessing. Lol. So today I’ll hit mile 100 on the JMT, actually right before Marie Lakes, so there’s that. MTR tomorrow! Let’s get to the lake!

Still Saturday, 9/4 6:17 PM  DAY 13  📍Marie Lakes  8.53 miles 

Journal entry #2: Marie Lake is beautiful. Lake Virginia was my favorite, now Marie Lake is my favorite. This view is everything. When I turn around for a 360 degree view, I can count at least 20+ peaks! I’m not even facing the direction I’m going tomorrow, rather where I came from? It’s 6, close to 7 PM and I had 4 mini burittos for dinner and a handful of gummy sours and in a few mins I’m going to cheers a fireball shot to the prettiest sunset yet- I can already tell. Before I start partying (lmfao) I should probably blow up my matteress. I got to the lake around 4:15 PM and I didn’t blow it up right away. It’s a bit windy/chilly this evening, but I still put my feet in the water. I really want to get in the lake tomorrow, but we’ll see.

Story: Today was a shorter day. I knew I wanted to camp at Marie Lakes before setting foot on the JMT, so that meant hiking however many miles the previous day to get there. Luckily, it was only about 6-7 miles. It was this morning when I decided I needed to slow down. There’s no rush. Bear Creek was flowing nicely, so I decided to stop at the creek and soak my feet for a bit. The weather was nice, and even though I had only hiked 1 mile that morning, I’m glad I stopped. Bear Creek was amazing. Apparently, the creek gets really full at times and can be very dangerous. I was just happy to sit and be able to soak my feet. I must have spent a nice 30-45 minutes there soaking and journaling.

After recording that I hadn’t seen a single person on trail that afternoon, I crossed paths with a group of 6-7 people. They were all from Korea, and each of them had an orange Zpacks backpack! Up until this day, I had only seen 1 other person with a Zpacks backpack, let alone an orange one! Now, 6-7 people were passing me, all with orange Zpacks! It was a neat moment. Although we couldn’t understand each other, the lady at the very end gave me a thumbs up, and I know what that means. Spirits were lifted once again, after passing those hikers. We didn’t even have to talk to each other, just knowing that we were all experiencing the same thing was kinda cool.

A few minutes later I was crossing JMT Mile 100. I had probably already hiked over 100 miles by then, but this was JMT Mile 100 according to Guthook app, and I couldn’t find a marker anywhere; so I created my own. Snapped a few photos, recorded my excitement, broke apart my mile marker (leave no trace!), and continued to Marie Lake.

It was hot that afternoon and I underestimated the climb to Marie Lakes. Thankfully I noticed on the map that there were a few nearby lakes before the final push. With a short day, I figured I could check out these lakes and still have enough time to hang out at camp before the sun disappeared. I hopped on the trail to Lou Beverly Lake in hopes to be able to filter some water at the very least. I guess I was expecting the lake to be a lot closer than it was, and I ended up backtracking some 2 miles before getting back on the JMT. Lou Beverly Lake was nice, nothing special- but I’m so glad there was a lake. I started thinking that the lake may have dried up, and I was backtracking for no reason.

When I arrived at Marie Lake, I was in awe. At first, Lake Virginia had been my favorite, now it’s Marie Lake without a doubt! I thought I heard people when I hiked in, but I never saw anyone at the lake the entire time I was there. It was nice. I wanted to so badly get in the water, but the wind had started picking up, and the sun was going to set soon. I wouldn’t dry off in time before it got dark. I finally had burritos for dinner! I think had something like 4-5 mini burritos! They were delicious and I will forever pack Taco Bell hot sauce!

Sunset this evening was on a whole other level. The surrounding 20+ peaks lit up as the sun started to set, and it was a special moment. Intent as soon as the sunset- but I did peek my head out around 3 AM for the stars!!

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Vanessa is an outdoors enthusiast, hiker at heart, and the storyteller behind Forever She Wanders; a women's lifestyle + travel blog inspiring all to get outdoors, seek adventure and live an active lifestyle. As an outdoors enthusiast, Vanessa has found passion in being outdoors while backpacking, camping, hiking and creating memories of a lifetime.

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